The report published in The New York Times showing that AT&T helped NSA to spy on its client Internet line at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York has led to an offended reaction from the world organization.
AT&T has breached the trust of their client by granting the American intelligence agency access to billions of emails and helping wiretap communication exchanges. The United Nations plans to contact AT&T regarding of this high profile issue.
Vannina Maestracci, the spokeswoman for UN declared that "there will be contacts with AT&T". She mentioned the fact that under international law the inviolability of the United Nations is well established, and the world organization expects its member states to "respect and protect that inviolability".
The U.S. had previously assured the U.N. that they were not monitoring UN communications, according to Maestracci. However, the documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden dated from 2003 to 2013 provide evidence that the U.S. didn't respect their promise. ProPublica provided the basis for the report and the documents provided were reviewed by The New York Times.
The United Nations' spokeswoman has expressed the expectations of the world organization that its member states to respect its right to privacy. According to Maestracci, the world organization had security and safety measures in place at its headquarters in New York. She added that the UN is currently assessing the best way to respond to this crisis. By the rule of the 1961 Vienna Convention governing diplomatic relations, the functions of the United Nations and its diplomatic missions are protected under the international law.
According to The New York Times, the documents show that AT&T has been "highly collaborative" with the American intelligence agency NSA and that the telecom giant has demonstrated an "extreme willingness to help." According to The Times, it is unclear whether the spying program is still operational today.
Brad Burns, the spokesman for AT&T responded to the accusations by stating that the company provides information to investigating authorities in case that a court order or another mandatory process is in place. According to him, the telecom company agreed to help NSA in spying on their client due to a secret court order.